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Season 2 - Episode 5

Holding Another's Breath

10 min - Practice
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In Yoga, the breath is a primary teacher and to touch another's breath is a privilege. Kira and Alana experiment with holding each other's breath, allowing feedback to be revealed. You will need a partner for this experiment.
What You'll Need: Partner

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While investigating our breath on our own is one way into the mystery, investigating the breath within another reveals so much more in such a quicker format. So again, find a friend. Thank you, Alana, for being my friend. And as you endeavor to touch another's breath, this is really such a gift. Touch another's breath is such a privilege.

So as we explained in season one before touching another, it's always this, Alana, if at any time you want out of this experiment, please say stop. Then if I'm going to touch Alana, second step is to tune my hands like we reviewed in season one to really make sure that I'm here. And really wait, wait for your hands to feel your presence. And then when you come towards your friend, you'll want to find your hands around where you imagine her diaphragm or his diaphragm sits, which is generally anatomically about the fifth rib. And you are getting closer than you think.

Sometimes I see people do this and they sort of do this, but this is just going to be uncomfortable and tense. So, you know, yeah, like cotillion style, like squeeze and a little bit of squeeze really helps because if I'm too tender in my grip, it'll just tickle and feel uncertain. Once you feel like you've placed your hands where you imagine them to be, you check in with your partner. Alana, does that feel like the right spot? And then they'll let you know.

Okay. Now, my job in this scenario is to simply offer support to give Alana something to press into with her breath. Alana's job in this scenario is not to impress me with how awesome her breath is, but rather to feel what it's like to have something to breathe into. So if you're Alana in this scenario, if you're the breather, let your eyes close. And if you're in my role, if you're the supporter, a nice place to let your eyes fall is right around the collarbone region, you can just kind of watch the breath there.

Now at this point, it's likely that if you're the supporter, you've been a little bit worried about doing a good job. Just some of that. Nice. Last few moments. And then as you're ready, gently release your hands from your partner.

And then you'll share about your experience to show that, Alana, what did you notice? I noticed that I could take a fuller breath, feeling held and secure and supported that I had your hands to breathe into and kind of meet myself in that way. So you might have noticed something similar, that the support allowed the breath to deepen. You might have noticed something different. What you noticed is what matters.

Okay, so switch roles that the other person tries. So here at any time, if you went out of this experiment, just say stop. And then if you're now the supporter, tune your hands. So let your palms turn up and you're going to wait until you really feel like a suchness that your hands really are present with you. And then only as you feel ready, you're going to move in and find where you imagine your partner's diaphragm to be, you know, about that fifth rib spot.

And then you want to give enough pressure that they know you're there. Does this feel like the right spot? Exactly. Actually, I think it would be just a little bit lower for me as I feel comfortable for you. And then again, like so breather's job, your job is not to impress your partner with how amazing your breath is.

Your job is to simply let the hands provide feedback. And if you're in Alana's role now, if you're the supporter, let your eyes fall across the collarbones of your partner. And just notice. If you're in the role of the supporter, notice if you've been trying a little too hard this whole time to do a good job, like what can you relax so that you see more clearly? And if you're the breather, if there's been something that you wish your partner would do, but she hasn't read your mind, ask.

And then slowly relax, let your hands relax from your partner. And then allow yourself to share. And so similar to you, what I noticed was that it was because you were the tension, I didn't have to be so tense and the breath felt freer and more open. Did you have any observations being in this role? I could feel the breath move differently.

So like one lung and the other lung, and it wasn't just this full, even expansive breath. I noticed I felt that for myself as well when you had your hands on me. One lung felt more inspired than the other. Thank you. And thank you.

And really, this is deeply intimate. This is more intimate than we usually get. And yet in these practices of yoga where the breath is such the primary teacher, letting ourselves start to touch it and to be touched is vital for starting to touch this life force that animates us all. Thank you.


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